Jan 05, 2021

Tips for Creating an ‘Emergency Kit’ for Special Events

By Joyce Venezia Suss

Every successful event planner carries an event kit with items to handle just about any emergency. Even if you are planning your own event – large or small – it helps to have these things at the ready, instead of wasting time looking for them when needed. An event kit is especially important if you are hosting at a venue away from your home or office.

The first list below contains suggestions for the basics; the rest are designed for specific events. After determining what you actually need to bring, find an appropriate, easy-to-carry container. It can be as simple as a sturdy tote bag or covered plastic box. Professional event planners often use a canvas tool bag or professional makeup box, as well as an expandable folding cart or collapsible dolly.

At the event, consider carrying a small cross-shoulder bag or hip pack for the most-needed supplies, as well as your cell phone. If you carry a clipboard, look for one with an attached supply box.

Your event kit does not need full-size bottles or boxes of these products; travel sizes are convenient, or use sandwich bags to hold small amounts. Just make it a habit after every event – or before the next one – to check supplies to see if any need to be restocked.

Here are some of the basics: scissors; assorted rolls of tape (transparent, masking, no-residue duct, gaffer) for easy fixes; cardstock paper, pen and/or permanent markers for quick signs; stapler; paper clips, binder clips and Post-Its; wire, twine or zip ties for quick attachments; safety pins; basic tools like a multi-head screwdriver, wrench and small hammer; assorted Command hooks; small flashlight; batteries; phone chargers; extension cord and surge strip; box cutter or pocket knife; glue gun; and measuring tape.

Personal essentials can include: first aid kit; moleskin bandages for blistered feet; pain relievers for headaches and sore muscles; antihistamine for allergic reactions; antacids for upset stomachs; hand sanitizer; stain stick; and baby wipes. Bring bottled water, energy bars, nuts or other easy-to-eat snacks, and some hard candy in case of low blood sugar. For outdoor events, add sunscreen and bug spray. Dryer sheets also repel bees and wasps from an area.

For weddings and other special events such as bar/bat mitzvahs and sweet 16s, bring tissues; sewing kit; double-sided fabric tape; lint roller; hairspray; nail polish remover pads; contact solution; cotton swabs and pads; spray deodorants for men and women; dental floss; breath mints; portable, unbreakable mirror; anti-static spray; bobby pins and hair ties; oil absorbing sheets for faces; nail clippers and nail file; tweezers; lots more safety pins as well as straight pins; roll of thin white ribbon; assorted feminine products; and hand lotion. Each member of the wedding party should bring their own makeup for touch-ups. Bonus tips: white chalk is good to cover spills on white wedding gowns, and some guests appreciate ear plugs!

For corporate events, pack all of the basics plus these: backup USB flash drives; foldable tabletop easels and a collapsible floor easel; acrylic frames in various sizes; work gloves and/or plastic gloves; roll of Velcro; locks and metal cables if you need to secure valuable items. Other options include a portable wireless network and a portable printer.

For any event, the most important items are not inside your kit. Be sure to bring your patience – and a smile!